Posts Tagged ‘#markbregman’

Getting to “YES” on Job Offers

Tuesday, June 6th, 2017

It used to be that to get a top executive, you figured out what salary you wanted to pay, offered a bonus that might be discretionary, and extended the offer.  The candidate might accept, decline, or counter, and the response was almost always based on the money issues.

Organizational Talent Management experts have learned a lot about candidate motivation, yet offers are still often constructed and extended based on just monetary issues.  Candidate turn-downs are often based on many other factors.

Hidden Concerns:  There are lots of things you can’t legally ask a candidate about, but might be on their mind.  What issues could interfere with a move?  Does the candidate have elderly parents, or kids in high school?  Is the spouse really on board, or being dragged kicking and screaming?  The best way to address these hidden concerns is pre-closing, or testing the offer.  When you float a dollar range, and ask could they accept that, you will often hear, “Well, I’d have to think about it.”  Your next question should be, “What will you be thinking about?” Or, “What issues will you be considering?”  This will surface many of the hidden concerns, which opens the door to further discussion.

Candidate Motivation: “A” Players are rarely motivated by just the money.  Other key motivators include being inspired by your vision, liking your company culture, identifying with the challenges you have laid out for them (performance objectives for the position), feeling they can make an impact, long term potential for growth or equity, etc.  If you take care to find out what really matters to each candidate, and make sure you have painted a picture that incorporates these features, the money becomes secondary.

Offer Components:  There are many components to offers today that can be important to a particular candidate.  Again, it is critical to ask what is really important in the features and benefits you include.  One candidate might find educational reimbursement to be valuable, while another might need flex time.  We had a candidate this year who needed the relocation package to allow much more for temporary living, and much less for cost of home sale, and that required a change in company policy by the new employer!  A key issue for executives today is where they will be permitted to live, with many people wanting to keep their home, and commute twice a month to the job location.  Know what is important, and see if the candidate’s needs can be met.

A key strategy is individualization.  Most companies employ experts that standardize HR policies as much as possible.  Candidates are at their most vulnerable when they make a job change.  Being treated like a person instead of a commodity will win hearts and minds, and get “yeses.”  Last year, I had one candidate for whom the money wasn’t an issue at all – he was taking almost a lateral.  All he wanted was some help getting his wife started on her job search in the new locale.  He was jumping for the opportunity, while she was hesitant, and that’s what it took to win her approval and consent.

The pool of talent will begin to tighten in the recovery, and getting offer acceptance will become an art and science, and you must master both!  As an employer, you need to be creative, intuitive, responsive and willing to customize.

The Best Ways to Create Employment Branding

Monday, June 5th, 2017

Employment Branding best practices include long term strategies to manage awareness and perceptions of a company by both its current and its prospective employees.  Excellent Employment Branding can drive not only talent acquisition, but also retention, and even community and public relations efforts.  For the purpose of this article, we will discuss mostly the acquisition aspect of branding – what is required to attract top people to your company.  Here are our ideas on best practices for employment branding:

Clarity:  You must have a very clear brand identity.  Disney is about happiness and magic.  Volvo is about safety.  Apple is about being unique and different.  Be very clear on how you want to differentiate yourself in the marketplace – you can’t be all things to all people.  One clear message is necessary.

Honesty:  There is no place for spin in employer branding.  You must come across as sincere and accurately represent what you are as an employer.  So-so benefits?  Emphasize your innovation instead, if that is a plus at your company.  Not so innovative?  Talk about your stable secure environment.  Feature your assets, truthfully.

Consistency:  Ensure that all your communication tools are in alignment.  The look and feel of your ads, website, collateral, etc. must be in sync.

Attraction:  Meet the candidate at their model of the world.  Understand job seekers from their point of view.  Why would they want to work for you? Realize that there are different generations in the workforce who are motivated by different qualities about your firm.  Don’t change your brand itself, but tailor how the brand is communicated to each audience.

Engagement:  Getting a prospective employee to engage with you and be interactive deepens their interest in the company.  Get people to become fans of your company Facebook page, subscribe to your Tweets, respond by texting, join your LinkedIn group, attend your hiring events, and you will be creating brand loyalty before someone even interviews with you.  Did you know that some companies now market to parents of millennials?  Consider all options to connect intelligently with people.

Opinions: You don’t fully own your brand.  Recognize that the opinions of others now influence perception of your brand.  Employee perceptions are regularly posted on blogs, social media, employee opinion web sites (glassdoor, vault), etc.

Retention:  Good retention results are a recruitment tool.  Become an employer of choice.  Seek to be named on “top employer” lists.  Be socially responsible and connected to communities in which you have a presence.

Referrals:  Your own employees are your best recruiters.  Set up a program that leverages employee satisfaction and rewards people for referrals.

Many companies ignore employment branding, and operate on the assumption that if they advertise a job, the right people will apply.  That is no longer a safe assumption, and when the recovery is in full swing, you will need to do more to get the best.

A Bigger Piece of the Pie

Monday, June 5th, 2017

Why should your competitor’s customers buy from you instead?

If you can answer this question, you will be able to capture increases in market share – a bigger piece of the pie.  And make no mistake, the pie isn’t getting any bigger.  Economists predict a flat year, so if you want growth, it has to be a bigger piece of the pie.

To beat out competitors and win more business, you must be unique, special, different or better than the competition.  Your products have to be faster, simpler, cheaper, and/or capable of doing more for less money.

Einstein said that Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results.  So, the big question really is, how are you suddenly going to be able to be better?  Most companies find that to get better, they need new ideas, improved processes, greater proactivity, and stronger leadership.  Can you see where this is leading?  Better people!

Why would you expect your current team, doing the same things they have been doing, to get different results?

“A” players are stronger people who have better ideas, better execution capability, better connections (to more customers and resources), and a better methodology.  They take more initiative, work harder, and work smarter.  They help you grow.

Why are we so confident of this?  In a down economy we are having a record year in executive search.  100% of our clients are keenly focused on market share, and know that they must have better people to be able to grab business away from their competitors.  People who are happy, productive, and have their heads down focused on their jobs are readily open to considering a change.  But, they are attracted only to the companies who are doing things differently, who want increased market share.  They are attracted by the challenge of making a difference – making exciting new things happen.

Many employers hesitate to make staffing changes, thinking “the devil I know is better than the devil I don’t know – there might not be a better person out there than what I have now.”  There are better people!  Your environment and your goals may be just what someone is seeking for their next challenge, and your company may be more conducive to the fulfillment of their ability to create change.

To win this year will take a bold approach, not being satisfied with the status quo, and a willingness to grab that bigger piece of pie.  You can start increasing your market share right now, by getting better people.

The Art of Networking

Monday, June 5th, 2017

Whether you are looking for a new job, trying to win more business, or just need to find a solution to a challenge, networking is often the answer.

Most people need some help to capitalize on their own contacts, and certainly when calling strangers.  Here’s some key tips on how to get people to joyfully help you:

  • Walk in their shoes. Understand who they are, where they are in life, in business, and what motivates them.  Be cognizant of their point of view at all times.
  • Create value in the conversation itself. Being asked for help can be a huge downer to the recipient of the call, or the bright spot in their day.  How you come across makes the difference.  Be cheerful, positive, flattering, thankful.  Make it a joy to just talk with you.
  • Define the benefit to the buyer. Why should the networking target help you?  How will it reflect well upon them to do so?  How will the person they refer to you benefit from your ultimate request?  You must have the answers to these critical questions, before you get on the phone.
  • Help people help you. When you call, out of the blue, your networking target isn’t going to be immediately responsive to your request.  They may need to think it through. Be prepared to offer prompts to stimulate their thinking, and help them figure out where and how they might know the person you’re asking to find.
  • Give them time. Let them ponder your request, and offer to call back in 1-2 days.  Providing this “deadline” will actually put them to work for you.
  • Offer to reciprocate. Suggest ways that you can be helpful in return, and actually be available when called upon.
  • Ask open-ended questions (who, what, why, where, how, when) not closed-ended questions (do you know anybody that….?). You don’t want a yes/know answer – you want valuable information.
  • Be grateful – even if the new info, connection or lead is not useful – say thanks and mean it.



Tough Calls and How to Make Them

Monday, June 5th, 2017

The employment area is full of difficult decisions and actions, and this month we are implementing a new newsletter feature called TOUGH CALLS to highlight this area.  We’ll look at two key tough calls, letting go of a poor performer, and revealing sensitive company info.

Firing:  Both the decision to fire someone, and the actual action to get this done, are tough calls.  We’ve written articles and blogs before about how employers often keep people too long when they are not performing, and the very high cost of doing so.  We advocate acting swiftly.  Even though it isn’t needed in many “at will” states, it is a good idea to document poor performance, if only to help the employer feel comfortable taking action.

Often, conversations about inadequate performance, as well as negotiations about specific needed improvements are done informally and in private.  It is better when such talks are done with third parties present (ideally an HR rep), and then documented, with memos sent to the employee’s file and directly to the employee.  If the employee fails to live up to the needed improvements, termination will then be easier to address.

In the actual termination conversation, the hiring manager sometimes makes the mistake of personalizing things: “I like you Joe, and I wish we could… etc., etc.”, and this is a bad idea.  It is better to keep these conversations brief, and all about business.  Focus on the objectives, how they weren’t met, and that the employer needs a different solution.

Be prepared with a severance offer and a letter of release for the employee to sign, but accept the fact that the terminated employee may want to seek legal advice before accepting.  Don’t let people linger.  Calculate the least amount of time it might take for someone to clear up what is in process, and get them out as quickly as possible.  If you have their tasks covered, it can work well to end it the same day.

Make this tough call easier by removing the emotions, formalizing the process, and acting as methodically as you would in any other critical business area.

Confidential Info:  Sometimes while a company is hiring for new positions or strategic replacements, there are things they can’t tell a candidate or even a new hire.  Such items could include:  a possible acquisition of the company, certain financial performance numbers, product development that is not yet protected by IP, or perhaps even that the new hire’s boss is on the way out.

This type of information may be materially important to the new person once on board, and when they find out that they weren’t told, it can cause difficulty.  In some instances, we’ve seen new executives quit because of something critical that wasn’t revealed.  So what should the employer do?

  • If there is any way to reveal the information, do so, especially when it will really impact the new hire. Consult with your corporate attorney and/or communications officer on the subject, to see if the restrictions can be softened.
  • Draft a very specifically focused non-disclosure agreement if needed, and have the candidate sign it.
  • Find a way to sum up or highlight the subject area, keeping as little of it secret as possible.
  • Tell the candidate that there are such items – things you can’t reveal yet – and ascertain how flexible they are with the situation. Would they come on board knowing there will be surprises?

If there really is no way to safely disclose, be aware that such secrecy can have adverse consequences, and have a Plan B if the person should walk.

In the future we’ll look at other tough calls, and we invite our readers to submit suggestions.  What are some of the most difficult decisions you’ve made?  L